I’ve lived on my own now for four years. This means I’ve been feeding myself for four years now. The first few years were delicious, but not particularly healthful or efficient. But now…I think I’ve hit my stride (say the girl with the family-sized box of Lucky Charms on top of the fridge). Anyways, here are a few tips, tricks, strategies for more or less healthful eating.
1) Love vegetables. Embrace them because they are versatile, filling, and healthy. I eat a lot of meals that most would consider a side dish. Lots of chopped cucumbers with a dressing of grainy mustard and olive oil, endless varieties of lentil salads, so much kale, cabbage slaws, braised cabbage, etc.
2) Eat eggs. I will put an egg on anything. At home this looks like a fried or soft-boiled egg slipped on top of a pile of something healthy that needs a little extra oomph. At lunch at work I almost always eat a hard-boiled egg with whatever I’ve brought along.
3) Don’t buy the cheese. Just don’t. You will want to eat just a little bit of brie smeared on a baguette, but who can stop at a little bit. This isn’t to say that I never eat cheese, but in general I tend to keep feta or parmesan on hand to use in little quantities for flavor.
4) Eat the same breakfast every day. I mostly do this now because of convenience. I’m at work by 7:30 most days , so I never eat at home. I am a huge proponent of the Fage single-serving yogurts. They have a lot of protein which means they fill me up, and they serve as a blank canvas for whatever I want to throw on top of them. This and a cup of coffee equals the breakfast of champion. It should also be noted that I have a very high threshold for getting sick of a food. It takes me a long time to get tired of something.
5) Plan to share baked goods. I don’t really bake unless I’ve decided I’m going to share. Often this means I’ll bake a loaf of banana bread, eat a few slices and take the rest to work. Or if I’m really craving the most perfect strawberry cake, I’ll make it on Wednesday to eat with small group on Thursday (I actually haven’t done this, but it’s a mighty good idea). Before I’ve fallen into the trap of baking a tarte and then devouring the entire thing over the course of a day or two.
And now a list of habits I keep meaning to set for myself but can’t get around to:
1) Eat at a table. I have a kitchen table, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever eaten at it by myself. I prefer to eat on my bed or on the living room floor. Someday I may actually have to live like a civilized human being again, and I’m concerned that I won’t remember how to eat with polite company
2) Eat more meat. I am kind of a sap when it comes to animal cruelty, but I also am on-board with eating meat that’s been raised humanely. And when I try to give blood my iron is way too low. I feel badly about this because I am so not squeamish about needles or blood, and so many people can give but don’t/won’t. So more meat.
3) Clean as you go. Ever since I started helping in the kitchen this was the cardinal rule. And it works like a charm every time. But I’m more a “read as you go” kind of a girl. I’ll get something started on the stove, and then grab a book and read for the next ten minutes. And then I eat dinner, and the kitchen’s a mess. And then I go to bed. I may not be an adult after all.
4) Use what’s on hand. I am the queen of buying something and not using it ever. When asparagus was on special, I couldn’t stop buying it because it was so good. And I ended up throwing a quarter of it away because it went bad before I could use it. Let’s face it, you can only eat asparagus for every meal for so long before you start to feel (and smell) a little weird. I would love to be more disciplined about using everything I have. That being said, I’m about to dash off to the store for a few ingredients for yet another lentil salad I’m dying to make, ignoring the fact that I have a fridge and pantry full of food.